by Michael Butler
Nissan has been in the pickup game for over half a century and has played a massive part in the growth of America's pickup truck market. The 2020 Nissan Frontier is its current weapon of choice in the midsize pickup segment, and for 2020 is offered with an all-new gasoline engine in the form of a 3.8-liter V6 engine producing a strong 310 horsepower. Power is sent to the wheels via an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission and, as is typical of these trucks, either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains are available. The exterior has a rugged look to it, and is available in either 2-door or 4-door derivatives - King Cab or Crew Cab. The interior is just as rugged: it's not a very refined space, nor a capacious one, but it's hard-wearing and suits the rest of the truck's personality. The second-generation Frontier is due for replacement soon, but the new engine and transmission should carry over. The Frontier goes up against the competent Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, but with a higher cost than before for 2020, the Nissan is no longer the value for money proposition it once was against such company.
As Nissan prepares for the new Nissan Frontier's launch in the USA, the brand has done some work to the current year model to keep it fresh. What Nissan has done is introduce an all-new 3.8-liter 6-cylinder engine, which churns out 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. Mated to the new engine is an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission. Nissan has also reduced the Frontier's trim levels to S, SV, and PRO-4X - the latter being an off-road special. New on the base model are 16-inch styled steel wheels. All trims now feature a leather shift knob, manual tilt steering, power door locks, and power windows with driver-side auto-down. A new special edition package is offered on Crew Cab SV models, including a trip computer, a satin chrome grille, and 18-inch alloy wheels, amongst others. Lastly, the old four-cylinder engine from 2019 has been discontinued, which sees the base price of the 2020 Nissan Frontier pickup increase substantially.
See trim levels and configurations:
A lot has changed since Nissan first entered the pickup market over fifty years ago. But the one thing that has remained the same is the fact that this Japanese Automaker builds some rugged and dependable pickup trucks. The Nissan Frontier has seen a significant amount of attention for 2020 in the form of a new 3.8-liter V6 engine and nine-speed auto box, but the current model is ending its lifespan and is due for replacement, so it might be worth waiting it out until the current generation prices start to fall before investing in one or, better yet, wait for an all-new model that isn't based on more than decade-old - which is good for reliability at least - architecture. The package as a whole is not the most refined; what you get are the basics, and in terms of technology, especially the infotainment system, there's not much to write home about. The fact that the new V6 engine is the only option has also pushed the Frontier's asking price beyond that of some of its closest rivals. It's not a Ford F-150 Raptor, but it won't fall apart when taken over some rough country trails, and the Crew Cab gets a decent safety rating despite its age. As our review of the 2020 Nissan Frontier alludes to, it's a workhorse and should be treated as such.
The Nissan Frontier will never be a premium product, and even in its top-spec form, it can't keep up with the more premium offerings in its class. That's why we would recommend sticking to the base King Cab S. In base spec, the Frontier offers a no-nonsense pickup platform that is hard-wearing and capable, and with that new 3.8-liter engine onboard, performance is better than ever. Standard features include cloth-upholstered front seats, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and the option to go with either 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive setups. Keep it sweet and simple.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Nissan Frontier: